Search our records : Thomas James Woodrow

Surname: Woodrow
Forename(s): Thomas James
Service Number: 92003
Force: British Army
Unit: 154th Company Labour Corps
Home address: 2 Bovey Cottages, Beer, Devon

Thomas Woodrow was born in Branscombe in 1888, the son of George Woodrow, a waggoner, and his wife Elizabeth.   Thomas’s father was also born in Branscombe, but his mother was born in Beer.  At the time of the 1901 census the family lived at 2 Bovey Cottages.  He took his oath of allegiance in Axminster on 11th December 1915, and his Army record shows that he was 5ft 7 ½ ins tall and weighed 154 lbs.   He enlisted in the 3/7th Reserve Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment at Kidderminster on 3rd April 1916. 

Thomas was sent to France, embarking at Southampton on 4th October 1916, and arriving at Le Havre the following day.  On 24th April 1917 he was transferred to the 154th Company, Labour Corps.

The Labour Corps was formed in January 1917, and eventually grew to 390,000 men, more than 10% of the entire strength of the British Army, by the end of the war.  The Corps built and maintained roads, railways, canals, camps, supply dumps etc., often within range of enemy artillery.  Many men were posted to the Labour Corps after recovering from wounds suffered while serving with other units.

Thomas’s first spell of home leave did not come until November 1917, by which time he had been in France for over a year.  He was given a fortnight’s leave and spent it in the UK.  After returning to France he had to wait almost as long for his next UK leave, which came in October 1918, when he was given another fortnight.

Following the Armistice and after a discharge medical in France on 15th February 1919, he was demobilised from Fovant in Wiltshire five days later and returned to Bovey.